Where have you gone King Christian X of Denmark?

Published 02.02.2016 00:56

Danish parliament has accepted a legislation they will probably deeply regret in the coming times. According to this new legislation, refugees will be forced to hand over their valuables in excess of 10,000 krone ($1,453) for their accommodation while applying for asylum. Above that limit, their belongings will go into the Danish Treasury, which probably does not really need this additional but extremely negligible income. This was done to dissuade refugees from trying to come to and stay in Denmark, waiting to be granted improbable political asylum.

The legislation was accepted by a large majority. An outcry followed from different circles, institutions and the public. The United Nations, usually silent about domestic legislation pertaining to asylum seekers, felt it the necessity to publicly admonish the Danish government and parliament about the dangers such a move could create. To no avail, government spokesman Knuth said that the claim was "ludicrous" because similar laws apply to Danish citizens on welfare benefits, as reported in The Guardian.

How is it that a refugee, having lost everything at home, often including the lives of some loved ones, can be compared to a Danish citizen who pays extra taxes on his or her wealth remains a total mystery. The Danish government did not give any additional explanation. However, on social media, the people arguing about this new rule have discovered that similar systems already existed in Sweden and Australia. This is not very dependable information, but obviously, wealthy democratic countries, having flexible immigration policies, feel the necessity to tighten the rules for asylum. In doing so, they feel the necessity to take extremely stringent and inhumane measures to really dissuade people from far away countries to reach them.

Denmark is not a popular country for immigration. It is an extremely wealthy, small Baltic country whose capacity to offer shelter to refugees largely exceeds, at least in financial terms, that of Turkey's. It will be remembered as the first EU country to openly adopt an anti-immigration policy.But Denmark was not always that kind of a country. King Christian X of Denmark, who had an exceptionally long reign between 1912 and 1947 in very difficult times, is known as the defender of Danish Jews. Not only did he fight against Danish Jews having to wear a yellow Star of David, but a legend goes that he himself wore it on one occasion while riding his horse in a park in Copenhagen.

Oddly enough, King Christian X of Denmark was not at all a "monarque eclaire," he was authoritarian and he always stressed the importance of royal power, dignity and decision making. He took the risk in 1920 to oust a democratically elected cabinet to nominate another government more suited to his liking. The Danish monarchy could have been abrogated during this crisis, but the king is remembered as the national symbol of dignity and resistance. Why is this so?

He plainly refused to be protected by his guards while he walked among the people in the streets under German occupation and he helped Danish Jews migrate to Sweden, which was unoccupied and neutral, where they would not be persecuted. He opposed Hitler and his gang regarding the treatment of Jews at a time when he was powerless, as a constitutional king of an occupied country.

He is remembered with respect, love and warm feelings, because he showed the good side of a head of state with compassion, understanding and a humane approach. It is very difficult to resist using a very old cliche from Hamlet: "Something is rotten in the state of Denmark." In fact, it is not Hamlet, but Marcellus talking to Horatio. Would he add, if he were living today that this something rotten is becoming pandemic all over Europe?

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